8.12.2007

Annals of capitalism, we know better than people in the field edition

I saw this post by Atrios about the SoCal market. Here's the lead:

Major lenders are repossessing homes in Southern California much faster than they can sell them, a development that could set off a downward spiral of price cuts and more foreclosures.
And since I happen to have a physical copy of the LA Times right on my kitchen table, I thought I'd go read it. Here's the part I want to pull out:
To move their growing inventories, lenders solicit local agents to do what they call broker price opinions. These involve the agent's physically examining the home, getting an estimate to clean up any damage, checking to see what similar homes in the neighborhood have recently sold for and suggesting a price.

Thanks to globalization, requests for BPOs can come from the other side of the world. Ocwen Financial Corp., a Florida mortgage company that is trying to sell 753 foreclosed homes in California, has outsourced its BPO review office to India.

Agents who work with Ocwen e-mail their reports to India, where they are processed and sent to the company's headquarters in West Palm Beach. Asset managers there decide on the price.

"We're here and they're not, but they resist our expertise," said Jason Bosch, president of Home Center Realty, an Inland Empire firm that works with Ocwen and other lenders. Home Center has put 42 lender-owned homes on the market since the beginning of the year. Only two have sold.

Bosch cited one house in Perris that a lender listed for $427,000. Home Center received an offer of $419,000, but the lender said it wouldn't budge. The would-be buyer moved on to a more flexible seller.

Ten days later, the lender lowered the price to $417,000, where it still sits.
People who keep telling me that businesses aren't run anything like those government bureaucrats need reminding that all large organizations tend to resemble each other.

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